Another method of joining two plates together.


I do the same thing minus the fence and fancy holding apparatus.

Flip my #7 upside down in a wood vice. Clamp both plates together with spring clamps and joint the edges together on the #7. When you're done open the plates like a book and it doesn't matter if it's a hair off from 90 degrees.
 
I wish I had the skill to do it freehand like that, but most of us don't have the highly developed skill to maintain the same angle of the wood to the blade on the edge along the whole cut . Most people will probably have better results using a shooting board.The angle does not matter, but it does need to be constant along the entire edge. and a shooting board is a cheap, easy, way to ensure that.. Running the plane on it's side on a shooting board ensures the angle of the cut on the edge remains the same. As a side note, the old Bailey planes have side walls that are tall enough to comfortably support the plane on it's side. Some years ago, thinking i'd upgrade to a modern jointer plane, I bought an expensive well known brand jointer plane. Disappointingly it had very short sidewalls, and the plane would easily rock when used on it's side. I ended up selling it on eBay at a loss. I do have a shorter Lie Nielsen plane that is very comfotable to use for uke jointing, but costwise an old Bailey can be a pretty good deal. If you want to stick with the Bailey's, maybe add a Hock blade. Planes are one of the most satisfying handtools to use iMO.
 
I'll agree it takes time to develop the skill to use hand planes, but I disagree that it's an inherently difficult skill to learn.

Early on in my woodworking life, probably 15'ish years ago now, I went through a hand tool purist phase. I built 1 piece of furniture using 0 electricity, and while I wouldn't do this again due to time constraints, I learned to sharpen, setup, and use all of my planes during that project. Yes, a few boards wound up in a bonfire, but the project was completes and turned out well.

The only other gotcha is sharpening, but that's a skill you need either way, and sharpening a plane iron isn't that much different than a chisel.

It's really just a matter of putting in time to get comfortable. Though I'll also concede that my hand tool purist phase happened before I had children 😉
 
I've often struggled with joining the top plate halves. After viewing Pete's method, I bit the bullet and bought a #6 Bailey. My first go with it produced a perfect joint.
Thank you, Pete Howlett for the inspiration:

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